‘Matesong’ was developed by M&C Saatchi and was launched as a follow-up to its popular ‘Dundee’ campaign but a steady stream of bad news from the country threatened to derail the effort, prompting the tourism body to temporarily suspend marketing.
In a statement, the organisation confirmed: “We will be connecting with industry and State Government partners more in coming weeks regarding the bushfires and the pathway forward for our sector.
“Given the widespread international coverage, we are focused on developing an approach to minimise any impact on tourism, and to protect and build Australia's reputation as an international tourism destination.”
The campaign launch drew scorn from Australians incredulous at the timing with many questioning the government’s priorities on Tourism Australia’s official YouTube channel, where the campaign has racked up over 1.6 million views.
Questioning the timing Tor Mon said: “This now just looks like a bizarre, surreal joke. The tourists that did come had to evacuate and will never return. The government seems to be obsolete and unwanted.”
Matesong kicked off in the UK on Christmas day with Minogue delivering a three-minute musical tribute to her homeland as part of an antipodean cast seeking to bring a slice of summer to wintery Britain.
DDB Australia delivered an alternative approach with The Burnt Christmas Tree to highlight the human cost of the bushfires.